Welcome to Libertas Chambers Leading specialists in Business Crime, Professional Discipline & Asset Recovery

Libertas is a dynamic and progressive chambers, offering a range of specialisms across a national presence.

Forward-thinking set of chambers with a national presence

Libertas Chambers boasts an impressive array of experienced barristers in several practice areas.  We took advantage of recent challenges to rethink the model of a chambers based on criminal and regulatory law and set up on a virtual basis.

This enabled us to create a national service for solicitors and clients by having high quality conference suites in major cities. In London we retain premises in the heart of the City.

Our members provide a high-quality service with access to modern facilities throughout the country.

Read more about us

Areas of Practice & Expertise

Our carefully selected and highly skilled collection of experts provide a national and international service to all Libertas clients. Providing you with a first-class advocacy and advisory service across the following areas (and many more).

If you would like to discuss an alternative area of law please contact our clerking team who will provide you with immediate advice and support.

Business Crime

Our barristers have established national and international reputations for their expertise, experience and confidence in Fraud, Financial Services and Business Crime and Compliance – they are consistently ranked as leaders in the field. We advise and represent individuals and entities in relation to financial, regulatory, and fraud investigations in the UK, and overseas. Our clients include financial institutions and corporations, as well as politicians, entrepreneurs, company directors and chief executives, chartered accountants, lawyers, IFAs and medical and other professionals. We therefore have accumulated experience dealing with the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office, National Crime Agency, HMRC, National Trading Standards, FACT, as well as other investigating and prosecuting bodies. Many of our cases have an international dimension and we are accordingly experienced dealing with overseas authorities including the US Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and EU, Indian and Australian authorities. Practitioners specialise in trans-jurisdictional terrorist financing, proscribed wildlife trading, and export control violations. Members of our team have previously worked in the banking and commercial sectors and within their regulatory regimes. Others have had advisory and disciplinary roles regulating the accounting (FRC, ACCA, CIMA) and medical (GMC) sectors.  Some of us prosecute for these agencies as well as defending, and advise on and conduct internal investigations, or act as disclosure counsel. We understand how regulators and prosecution authorities work. Practitioners lecture and advise on corporate responsibility for human rights. We are often involved in an advisory role at the start of regulatory or criminal investigations. Our experience, attention to detail and dedication to our clients assists them in responding appropriately with the object of avoiding prosecution. When proceedings are commenced, we work to ensure that our clients receive the best advice and representation and, most importantly, a fair hearing. Our work covers a wide range of conduct, recently including: Bribery and corruption, including European government officials Cartel Offending Commercial property fraud Corporate compliance with human rights obligations Environmental protection, including carbon credit and land fraud, wildlife trading and international illegal logging EU, National and Devolved Government grant scheme frauds Export Control violations Fraud and cheating in the sports sector (cricket, rugby, horse-racing) Fraudulent trading Insider trading, market manipulation and abuse Insolvency and bankruptcy offending Intellectual property theft Investment (boiler-room) fraud and Ponzi mis-selling Money laundering, restraint, confiscation and asset forfeiture Pension mis-selling and liberation frauds Professional discipline Tax Evasion SPV’s inc. film and insurance schemes MTIC & carousel fraud PAYE, payroll and C.I.S. frauds Duty diversions Terrorist financing Trading Standards prosecutions in clothing, energy switching and ticketing sectors Web-site ghosting and internet advance-fee frauds Whistle-blowing and deferred prosecution agreements We advise and represent well-known corporate clients and individuals in sensitive situations with discretion as well as vigour. Please call our Clerking team on 020 7036 0200 to discuss any particular requirements you may have.

Defence Crime

Libertas Chambers brings together some of the country’s leading criminal defence specialists. Exceptional juniors and renowned Queens Counsel provide quality representation from the Supreme Court, through the Crown Courts across London and the Circuits and in the Magistrates Court. Members of Libertas Chambers also regularly appear in quasi-criminal jurisdictions where their experience in the criminal courts provides a cutting edge service in regulatory and professional disciplinary proceedings. Chambers accept instructions in both publicly and privately funded work and members provide specialist and strategic advice at all stages of a criminal case, from pre-charge investigation through to trial and appeal. Members of Chambers have appeared in some of the most high-profile criminal cases of recent times, including Operation Elveden (selling stories about Prince William and Prince Harry to The Sun), R v H and C [2004] 2 AC 134 (leading case on disclosure), R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8 (clarifying an error in the law in accessorial liability) and R v Lewis [2017] EWCA Crim 1734 on the approach to joint principalship. Members are regularly instructed in the following key areas of practice: Appellate Homicide Corporate manslaughter Terrorism Drug trafficking Serious and organised crime, including corruption and bribery International crime Human trafficking Modern Slavery Fraud Cyber crime Robbery Serious assaults Kidnaping Serious sexual offences Environmental health offences Trading standards prosecutions RSPCA prosecutions Our barristers offer expert advice to a wide range of external authorities and regularly provide training and lectures on current topics to other members of the legal profession, experts and those who work within the wider criminal justice system.

Regulatory

Our members have substantial experience defending individuals and companies in regulatory matters before professional tribunals or the FTT and above. What distinguishes us from other barristers specialising in regulatory work is that clients will have the benefit of our skills and experience as criminal advocates too. What is often required in contentious regulatory work is a robust defence, strategic advice and preparation, and skilful cross-examination of witnesses. The lack of hard-fought trial experience in some regulatory practitioners means that the witnesses may not be put under the degree of sustained pressure in cross-examination that the client is entitled to and expects. We believe that any individual or corporate entity that is facing a serious regulatory accusation is entitled to the same robust defence as a defendant in a criminal case. The consequence of a false regulatory accusation can be just as damaging and life changing as a false accusation of a criminal offence. Professionals can be vulnerable to malicious complaints. The only way to tackle these successfully is to use the skills honed in the criminal courts to uncover false accusations. We understand that these cases often cross over between criminal, civil, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings. We are also very aware of both the commercial and emotional impact these cases can have on clients and have a lot of experience supporting our clients through the challenges. We are also well-versed working with insurers, unions and defence organisations. The team includes trained mediators and members with experience working within the City and in house with regulators.

Public Law & Human Rights

Judicial Review proceedings enable challenges to decisions made by Courts and Tribunals, by regulators and by bodies whose public functions impact upon individuals and companies. This jurisdiction is an important protection of the rights of the individual against administrative irrationality or excess. We have specialist experience seeking Judicial Review in cases flowing from our other practise areas, challenging decisions in criminal and quasi-criminal investigations. Members have acted for claimants seeking to challenge decisions made by the police, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the Information Commissioner, the Asset Recovery Agency, the Legal Services Commission, the Magistracy, Judges and various Tribunals. These cases have included challenges to the lawfulness of pre-charge search warrants, decisions to prosecute children, actions by solicitors resisting Special Procedure search warrants, challenges to the lawfulness of the application of the sending procedure by Magistrates Courts, preserving the anonymity of young offenders in extreme cases, applicability of the reasonable time requirements in Article 6 to enforcement of Confiscation Proceedings, decisions on appellate referral by the CCRC, treatment of prisoners and the review of Parole Board decisions. Within the criminal trial process, our members have expertise at first instance, on domestic appeal and applications in the European Court of Human Rights and the OHCHR, challenging a range of human rights violations, as well as the compatibility of primary and secondary legislation with the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms (ECHR) such as the hearsay provisions in CJA 2003, the reverse burden in s.90 Financial Services Act 2012, and the Attorney -General’s exercise of the right of nolle prosequi. We act nationally and internationally for people whose human rights are in issue in other forums including actions against the police, extradition, international law, in Prisoners’ Rights, and at Coronial Inquests. Members have advised and acted on behalf of individuals, governmental organisations and major NGO’s in providing international human rights expertise. Our members provide advice and representation in cases concerning Prison Law, including issues relating to the welfare of prisoners, to Parole Board hearings, and the release and recall of prisoners. Coronial Inquests engage the rights of many groups; members have experience representing interested parties, insurers and the families of the deceased. We offer particular expertise where there is a potential engagement of criminal or regulatory proceedings, acting for insurers and their policy holders.

Private Prosecutions

The prosecution of alleged criminals for wrongdoing is generally the domain of the Crown and its specialist agencies. But increasing budgetary constraints on investigating and prosecution agencies mean that a significant number of miscreants are able to avoid being held to account in the Criminal Courts for their actions. When State prosecutors decide that they cannot or will not prosecute, the law allows private individuals to prosecute allegations of wrong-doing. Initiating a private prosecution puts you in court as the prosecutor, adopting the mantle of the prosecution agency. Private prosecutions are a specialist area of the law. The right to prosecute, and seek punishment of offenders, brings with it the responsibility of ensuring a fair trial and the obligation to conform to all the rules applicable to any prosecuting agency. Those rules are often complex and diffuse. At Libertas Chambers, our barristers are experienced at liaising with potential prosecuting authorities and advising how to assemble the best case for the prosecution, taking the case to court and seeking justice, even where the Crown Prosecution Service or other prosecution agencies cannot or will not act. Importantly, this includes continuing advice on the recovery of compensation and some or all of the costs of litigation from defendants or from Central Funds. We start by helping you assess your evidence, advising you on the right forum in which to litigate, and on the merits of your case, then working with the best private prosecution solicitors to put together and finally to present your case at trial, ensuring continuity of representation and consistency of approach.

International Law

Libertas Chambers can field a range of quality advocates who are able to undertake advisory, consultancy and adversarial work in International Criminal Law including Genocide, Torture, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, including several members who are experienced in military tribunals. Members of Libertas Chambers have significant experience in international criminal law at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals, including appeals in cases concerning genocide, crimes against humanity and joint criminal enterprise in an international context. Members experience extends to issues of universal and extra territorial jurisdiction, transnational human trafficking, statelessness and citizenship stripping. Members of Libertas Chambers are available to advise on issues of complementarity arising in International Criminal Law investigations and the application of domestic criminal law in the context of war crimes, torture and other international crimes, to include where there are overlaps with International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Terrorism as an international crime, Extradition and Asset freezing regimes. We are particularly proud to have a number of members with expertise in international terrorism law who have acted in the UK and overseas in high profile cases at trial and on appeal. Our members are also experts in extradition law, particularly in the context of multinational financial crime. Members of Libertas Chambers also have recent experience across the Commonwealth and in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and have experience in death penalty cases overseas We have members on the lists and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in the Hague and who have appeared in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)> Members provide teaching and training in a wealth of international criminal law spheres.

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Latest News
Murder conviction quashed for Patrtk Pachecka Patryk Pachecka and Grzegorz Szal, have been unanimously acquitted of Murder and Manslaughter after a trial at the Central Criminal Court. Patryk Pachecka has now been reunited with his family in Gdansk, Poland. Both men were convicted of Murder in December 2017 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years’ imprisonment while the killer escaped responsibility. Their convictions were overturned in January 2021. The way in which the evidence was presented at Trial 1 in 2017 was significantly different to how it was presented in 2021 at the retrial after painstaking efforts by Mr Pachecka’s legal team to uncover the truth. Investigative journalists based in Poland working for TVN media uncovered critical information about a co-defendant who misled the first jury about his character status. There was fresh pathological and scientific evidence led by pathologists based in Northern Ireland and Germany, respectively, Professor Crane, Dr Buschmann and blood expert, Joanne Millington. Throughout the appellate process and subsequent proceedings, Patryk Pachecka and his legal team have been supported by the Polish Consulate and the Miscarriage of Justice Organisation, INSIDE JUSTICE. Patryk Pachecka was represented by Siobhan Grey QC and Richard Vardon and instructed by Jason Lartey of Lartey and Co. Siobhan Grey QC specialises in Homicide cases and is reading for a Diploma in Forensic Medicine. 
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Caution order secured in 58-day NMC midwifery misconduct case Darren Snow, instructed by Thompson’s Solicitors, represented midwife JG in fitness to practice proceedings before the Nursing & Midwifery Council concerning the care and tragic death of a baby on a high-risk delivery unit going back to November 2013. JG and 4 other midwives faced multiple allegations in respect of their respective care and treatment over the course of several shifts to an expectant mother where the baby died soon after birth. The case commenced in January 2020 and went part heard, with various hearings – finally concluding in November 2021, taking some 58 days in total spread over 20 months. The case had gone through an internal investigation by the NHS Trust, a police investigation and an inquest before the case reached the NMC. Evidence at the hearing revealed systemic failures within the Trust with chronic understaffing and deployment of newly qualified and inexperienced midwives onto a high-risk unit, together with failures by registrars also on duty – all combining to play significant parts in the tragic events that unfolded. Evidence established that Darren’s client had managed her own high-risk patients on her shift with care and skill. Expert evidence during the hearing also revealed significant failings in training on CTG interpretation within the midwifery profession. Darren’s client was found to not be impaired on clinical grounds.  The outcome was a 12-month caution order for Darren’s client, based solely upon public interest findings which the panel emphasised enabled her to continue in unrestricted practice as a midwife.
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Gerard Hillman Successful In Another Application To Dismiss Gerard Hillman’s client was arrested for attempted murder and subsequently charged with a conspiracy to wound with intent and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. The case involved a gang of at least 5 men who entered a local park at lunchtime on a Sunday afternoon during a football match.  The gang (that the prosecution alleged included Gerard’s client) attacked the victim by shooting him and stabbing him on multiple occasions. Gerard’s legal defence detailed analysis of the mobile telephone call data and cell site data persuaded the court that the case against his client should be dismissed. Gerard was instructed by Adam Foster of Robert Lizar Solicitors This is the fourth application to dismiss Gerard has argued this year, all of which have been successful.
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Latest Insights
Why the CPS should revise its guidance on women suspected of causing the death of their infants This article sets out some of the matters we discussed in our Libertas Lecture on Thursday 28 October 2021 and develops them in the light of a recent decision in Australia. On 10 November 2021 the Supreme Court in Victoria, Australia sentenced a woman to a non-conviction outcome for endangering the life of her 2-year-old child by placing his face in the bathwater for approximately 5 seconds. She was originally charged with attempted murder, a plea to a lesser offence was accepted and a community corrections order was imposed, albeit after she had served many months in custody. The court accepted that the conduct was in the context of a mental health crisis where the mother had self-reported and sought help. This was held to reduce her culpability, and the sentencing judge exercised her discretionary power not to record a criminal conviction.   Download Article now To stay up to date with insight articles, webinars and chamber news why not subscribe to Libertas Lens (our periodic newsletter) – Click here to register
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Chambers Article – The new Antique Firearms Regime The law governing the possession of firearms is strict and comprehensive. However, not all forms of possession are prohibited. Many people – ranging from police officers to farmers – may have a legitimate reason to possess a firearm. This article goes further into the discussion around collector’s items and more. Click below to read in full. Download Article now To stay up to date with insight articles, webinars and chamber news why not subscribe to Libertas Lens (our periodic newsletter) – Click here to register
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Forensic Archaeology & the International Criminal Court This article contains much of what we discussed in our Libertas Lecture on 20 May 2021. The International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC) simultaneously possesses jurisdiction over a “situation” and individual “cases”. In the context of a situation there may be both victim participation and/or evidentiary issues that may affect the cases against individual accused yet to be identified by the court. This can involve the appointment of so-called “ad hoc defence counsel” to represent the interests of these future accused. Preserving evidence of international crimes, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, occurs in the pre-trial phase of the case before charges are pleaded or even confirmed. This article goes further into forensic archaeology and its contextual use within both criminal and civil cases and takes a particular focus on counsel’s duties in the pre trial stage at the International Criminal Court Download Article now To stay up to date with insight articles, webinars and chamber news why not subscribe to Libertas Lens (our periodic newsletter) – Click here to register
Felicity Gerry QC
Latest Events
The Use Of Rap Lyrics In Criminal Trials – Webinar Sign up open for our next Libertas Webinar – details below This webinar presents the research of Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah on the serious concerns that arise when police, prosecutors and courts do not acknowledge or appreciate the artistic value of rap music. An analysis of over 30 recent appeals identified that most of the defendants in ‘rap evidence’ trials were black men and boys — particularly teenagers — which falls in line with the overwhelming over-representation of Black and minority ethnic boys within the prison population. We consider the disproportionate and discriminatory treatment of black people throughout the criminal justice process, and how the use of rap lyrics as evidence feeds into that. Presented by Felicity Gerry QC and Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah Felicity Gerry QC is well known as successfully defending black and minority ethnic people, including youths, accused of murder alleged to be ‘gang related’, where the prosecution sought to rely on rap music tropes. Dr Owusu-Bempah is an Associate Professor of criminal law and criminal evidence. She is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy and an Associate Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Register today – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/180796074927 To ensure you don’t miss out on future events please register for our newsletter by clicking here.
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Criminal Justice Responses to Maternal Filicide – Webinar Video We recently held a webinar presenting recently published research that reveals, through an analysis of cases, that women suspected of killing their newborn children are some of the most vulnerable in society and that infanticide is not just a historical issue but one that has modern implications. Women are less likely to commit a violent crime, but maternal-infant homicide is an enduring form of offending that needs to be understood in a wider social context. We will discuss legal, policy, and gender issues that arise in criminal justice and the implications for legal professionals when women are suspected of killing newborn children or harming foetuses. The Webinar was presented by Felicity Gerry QC and Dr Emma Milne Felicity Gerry QC is well known for defending mothers, including those accused of homicide and endangerment offences in relation to their young children. Dr. Emma Milne is Assistant Professor in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at Durham University Law School. The focus of her research is the social, legal, and cultural controls and regulations of all women. She is currently looking at attitudes and perspectives held by legal professionals to women suspected of causing the death of their infants. Her project is funded by the BA/Leverhulme Small Grants.   To ensure you don’t miss out on future events please register for our newsletter by clicking here.
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Examining pressures on children to plead guilty – Libertas Chambers Webinar Sign up open for our next Libertas Webinar – details below Join us for an event discussing the research led by Dr Rebecca Helm at the University of Exeter into pressure on children to plead guilty. Penelope Gibbs of Transform Justice, who advised on the research, will explore the findings with Dr Helm. We will also hear about a practitioner’s experience of representing children in the criminal courts from Mel Stooks. Hosted by Libertas Chambers in partnership with YPA, Transform Justice and University of Exeter. Panel: Penelope Gibbs – Director, Transform Justice Dr. Rebecca K. Helm – Senior Lecturer in Law and Clinic Solicitor, University of Exeter Mel Stooks – Partner and Supervising Solicitor, GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates, YPA Committee Member Chaired by: Marie Spenwyn – Barrister, Libertas Chambers, YPA Committee Member Click Here to Register Today To ensure you don’t miss out on future events please register for our newsletter by clicking here.
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